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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 1, 2023 9:59am-12:32pm EST

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[inaudible conversations] >> thursday, president biden speaks at the 71st annual national prayer breakfast along with congresswoman lucie mcbath and wahlberg. watch on c-span2, the c-span app or >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, we're funded by these companies and more, including comcast.
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>> do you think this is just a community center? no, it's way more than that, comcast is partnering with a thousand community centers to create wi-fi enabling listening so students from low income families can get the tools they need for ything. comcastupports c-span as a public service along with these providers giving awe front row seat to democracy. >> on this wednesday morning, the u.s. senate about to gavel in for member speeches. off the floor work continues on an organizational resolution setting committee assignments for the 118th congress. and now live to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2.
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o god who has guided our lives and is the author and finisher of our faith, teach us to finish to live for your glory. keep us from becoming intoxicated by the desire for success and protect us from the fear of failure that pierlzs noble striving. lord, -- par rallizs noble striving. lord, lead us through the valley of pride and across the georges of pretension to the richness of your transforming spirit of love. today, guide our members of our nation's legislative branch with
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your wisdom. show them solutions to the problems that beset our land and empower them with a compassion that seeks first to honor you. we pray in your righteous name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, february 1, 2023. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable raphael warnock,
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a senator from the state of georgia, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patty murray, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business with senators permit to speak thereon for up to ten -- therein for up to ten minutes.
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our farmers play a vital role
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in providing you is going need. farm bill development programs help to build resiliency on the ground. the farm bill also creates opportunities for american farmers to connect with consumers around the world by providing marketing assistance and credit access, agriculture exports have grown from $66 billion in 1996, to a record of more than $191 billion in 2022. that is more than 1 million american jobs on or off the farm. eyewitnesses that will highlight how those vital program support the diversity of american agriculture. the success of our agriculture economy requires continued investments in markets and opportunities for farmers. whether they're selling to neighbors are exporting products globally, whether they're growing traditional commodities, specialty crops organics, it
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helps farmers put food on tables here and around the world. we all have a stake and continue to make sure that happens. that's what this farm bill is all about. i would like to now turn to my friend and ranking member senator boozman. >> thank you, madam chair. and let me start by welcoming the 21 returning members to our committee. i'm grateful you are chosen to continue to serve on the committee. it's an important moment for u.s. agriculture and i believe that together will be able to craft the policies needed to maintain the world's safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply while protecting the land, water, air, wildlife and rural communities that we all care about. additionally i would like to welcome our two new members, snore welch and senator fetterman to the aggie committee. i had played with working with snore welch when we're in house and look for to continuing our work here. again he is a good friend of the
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think is going to be a great member. senator fetterman is the 11th 1h member from pennsylvania to serve on this committee since the sun and 1825. i look forward to his contributions and to work together in the future. chairman stabenow, recently surprised us all with her announcement that the 118th congress would be for last in the senate. leading this committee, serving as the third highest member of democratic leadership, senator stabenow has climbed her way up the ladder who serve not only the people of michigan but the many americans have benefited from the policies and programs she has championed. i have no doubt over the next two years the chairwoman will continue to pursue her goals as determined as ever at a know that determination will be key to passing the next farm bill which brings today's hearing.
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madam chair, thank you for convening today's hearing which built on a work from last year and kicks off her most important task for the 118th congress, drafting and passing a farm bill. as we begin to great the next farm bill it's important to understand the environment in which we find ourselves. in december the year over year consumer price index settled at 6.5%. the annual average inflation in 2022 was a%, the highest in more than four decades. inflation is hammering the country and is not yielding anytime soon. in the farm sector this was seen in record high production expenses including fertilizer, fuel, labor, land, taxes, interest and feed costs among others. the only saving grace for many farmers were for relatively high commodity prices. and backing his high prices was a surge in agriculture exports. during the last fiscal year exports increased by 14% to a
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record of nearly $200 billion while beginning to develop, it's important to have a focus and try to trade agenda to support farm and rural economies pick the farm bill contains several programs intend to assist with trade promotion activities including the market axis program, the farm market development program. i look forward to reviewing the effectiveness of these programs and ensuring our investment matches each programs needs. trade only works if trading partners live up to the agreement that they sign. when they don't we must be -- they must be held accountable. and please one of the first official acts of ambassador mccaleb and undersecretary did was to travel to mexico and appropriately confront the government for proposing to ban imports of u.s. biotech corn, the significant departure. as many countries around the world advance anti-farm t
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the production policies, the u.s. must actively promote and defend science-based technologies of american farmers and ranchers continue to feed, and clothes the world. global foods could only approve if we embrace scientific advancements that allow for more productive and sustainable agricultural production. today more than one in ten people around the world, about 828 million people will be going to bed hungry. beyond that, nearly 350 million faced acute food insecurity. which is more than double the number and 2019. this man-made conflict, economic shocks and resulting food price increases we are seeing food being taken from the hungry to give to the starving. during my travels to east africa last focus of impact firsthand of conflict in the horn of africa which leads many to seek
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refuge in king and other surrounding countries. however the unrelenting drought in this region meet all countries face significant food shortage, and use commodities provide a vital support to fighting the hunger problem. the u.s. is consistently been a leader in delivering food assistance around the world beginning with our efforts following world war ii. our emergency and nonemergency programs continue today, and many are authorized under the farm bill. americans should take great pride in the food for peace, food for progress, and these programs that only save entrance wasn't some of the world's most desperate situations, they've also created tremendous goodwill towards the u.s., and u.s. in recipient countries. today's hearing will help flesh out some of the most consequential aspects of u.s. agriculture and food security. i think our witnesses for joining us today and look forward to the hearing, and
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again, thank you very much for being here. madam chair. >> thank you very much. i will not introduce our three witnesses and then ask each of you to give five minutes of opening testimony before questions. alexis taylor is it better sector for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. prior to this role she was the director of the oregon department of agriculture. she also has experience with the united states department of agriculture and in congress having worked as an advisor to leonard boswell of iowa and senator max baucus of montana. it's good to have you back. our next witness is jenny lester moffitt users as undersecretary of marketing and regulatory programs. before joining usda under secretary moffitt held multiple leadership positions with then the california department of food and agriculture. she's also spent ten years as a managing director of her
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families organic walnut farm in california. thank you again for being here. and finally sarah charles is the assistant to the administrator of usaid bureau for humanitarian assistance. the u.s. government lead for international disaster response. prior to her current position she held roles at the international rescue committee and the national security council. thank you so much for being here as well. we will turn to undersecretary taylor. >> good morning, senator stabenow, ranking member boozman a member of the committee. please to be a with colleagues from usda and usaid. chairwoman stabenow would like to particularly thank you for your leadership and dedication not just to this committee but to the entire agricultural secretary over the years. while you are not leaving us quite yet, you will be missed. i appreciate the opportunity to
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discuss trade, market it will become international food assistance and capacity building programs authorized by the farm bill under the trade and foreign agricultural affairs missionary. this promotes u.s. agricultural exports, works to reduce barriers that impede trade, opens new markets for u.s. farm products and contributes to global food security. the tf and a mission and oversees the foreign agricultural service and the u.s. codis office. we are usda's lead international agency linking u.s. agriculture to the world to enhanced t opportunities and global food security. we support of food and agriculture secretary with a network of economist, marketing experts, negotiators and trade specialist in d.c. and the nearly 100 offices around the world, covering over 180 countries. we are proud of our work, or a role in opening and maintaining markets have resulted in a new record as has been highlighted here in the agricultural exports
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of over $196 billion last year, topping the previous years record by 14%. while those numbers are impressive what is more impressive is the real world impact those exports have to our producers in the rural communities. u.s. agriculture exports support more than 1 million jobs here at home and contribute more than 154 billion in additional economic activity. over numerous farm bills congress has authorized and we find an effective combination of agriculture market development programs and export credit guarantee programs. these programs are designed to develop markets, facilitate financing of overseas sales, and result market access barriers. we partner with a diverse group of cooperators representing u.s. food and agricultural industries and manage a toolkit of trade promotion programs to a u.s. exporters develop and maintain markets. recently prepared study of use grains council found usda export market to development programs
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generated a high benefit to cost ratio for use agriculture but also the overall economy. this study determined u.s. agricultural export value increased by over $24 $24 fy dollar invested in export market development. likewise we are equally as proud of our international food assistance and capacity building programs which provide assistance and that is helped millions around the world. i've seen firsthand the impact of this work to help developing countries improve agricultural systems and build their trade capacity to receive our exports. or supply us with products the u.s. needs to meet consumer demand. before developing countries can become customers for use agriculture products they must first become politically economically and socially stable and our program supports this work. usda sponsored fellowship and exchange programs invest in future developing countries by enabling international researchers, policymakers and agricultural specialist to work
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alongside the u.s. counterparts acquiring the knowledge and skills to help build the countries agricultural sectors. by helping developing countries strengthen the agricultural institutions and foster regulatory systems that support science-based trade policies these programs also help to improve international market access for u.s. agricultural products. i'm proud to lead usda's efforts to improve foreign market access for u.s. products, diversified into new markets and improve the competitive position of use agriculture in the global marketplace. all while working to a pulp science-based standards and equally as important support food security of millions around the world. we look forward for the opportunity to refine our programs as congress works to reauthorize the farm bill so we can make u.s. foreign policy more efficient, effective, equitable and sustainable while providing greater export opportunities to a vast range of markets for the benefit of our farmers ranchers and food businesses. thank you again for having me
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and i look forward any questions you may have. >> thank you very much. under secretary moffitt. >> thank you, chairwoman stabenow, ranking member boozman, and members of this committee for the opportunity to be with you today. and for the wide array of resources you provided usda as we partner with farmers, ranchers and produces to strengthen american agriculture. in my travels as undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs i have seen the impact of the farm bill and the importance of the program. i had either directly from farmers and ranchers about how they benefit from these programs and our work at usda. growing up in a small community with the family farmers i have seen the benefits of the farm bill firsthand and i know the ingenuity and the passion that farmers and ranchers bring to the challenges and rewards of producing the food that feeds us all. over the past few years we have
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seen the challenges that farmers and ranchers face particularly andr. accessing markets we in a? mr. president, i understand that there's a bill at the desk that is due for second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for a second time. the clerk: s. 184, a bill to amend chapter 8 of title 5 united states code, and so forth. mr. schumer: in order to place the bill on the calendar, under the provisions of rule 14, i would object to further proceeding. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. now, mr. president, house republicans are struggling, struggling to grasp the harsh reality about being in the majority. there is no good substitute for having a plan. you can't solve the nation's biggest problems without a plan, a plan we can debate in congress and which the american people can judge for themselves.
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this is especially true, especially true when it comes to the debt ceiling. later this afternoon president biden will meet with speaker mccarthy for their first one-on-one meeting of the year, and everyone is asking the same question of speaker mccarthy -- show us your plan. where is your plan, republicans? where is your plan, speaker mccarthy? for days, speaker mccarthy heralded this sitdown as a major win in the debt ceiling talks, but he forgets something obvious to everyone else, if you don't have a plan, you can't seriously pretend you're having any real negotiations. let me say that again, because it's so crystal clear. speaker mccarthy, if you don't have a plan, you can't seriously pretend you're having any real negotiation. speaker mccarthy showing up at the white house without a plan is like sitting down at the table without cards in your hand. look, we know why this speaker has struggled and is unable to produce a plan, is delaying or
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avoiding it. he doesn't have the voadz for one, in all likelihood. -- he doesn't have the votes for one, in all likelihood. some that's republicans want social security and medicare cuts. others want to cut health care, that americans depend on through medicaid. at least one republican said on raising the debt ceiling i'm a no, no matter what. so speaker mccarthy knows that it's next to impossible to pass a plan through his own house. certainly that he can't do that. so speaker mccarthy may claim he wants to negotiate, but that is ultimately empty talk, if the hard right has the power to reject whatever the speaker proposes. it's a toxic dynamic that, sadly, isn't going away anytime soon. when president trump was in office i sat down with him to talk about the importance of raising debt ceiling, and we didn't engage in threats or brinksmanship or hostage-taking.
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instead, we democrats presented a plan and moved forward from there. it was not easy. it took a lot of preparation and tough decision-making. but each time we got the job done. so one more time, house republicans, show us your plan. you have an obligation to be transparent with the american people, and if you don't have the votes to pass a plan let's just get the debt ceiling done. and if the plan involves drastic cuts to millions of americans, then republicans have an obligation to show the american people what those cuts are, because americans could be faced with the very painful, painful results of those proposed cuts. republicans owe it, owe it to the american people. speaker mccarthy owes it to the american people to stop dodging, put pen to paper, and explain clearly how congress is going to ensure the united states does not default for the first time in history.
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we democrats have a plan -- raise the debt ceiling without brinksmanship or hostage-taking as it's been done before. speaker mccarthy doesn't have a plan. so, he is not really negotiating. and the clock is ticking. on the era, a different and extremely important matter, i want to praise and echo the words of my colleagues yesterday who reintroduced a resolution to affirm the ratification of the equal rights amendment. the resolution is simple. it removes the arbitrary deadline for era ratification placed by congress in the 1970's, and recognizes the amendment as a valid part of the constitution. there's no good reason why a constitutional amendment needs a deadline, especially not an amendment that affirms gender equality. the equal rights amendment has never been as necessary and urgent as it is today. the supreme court's repeal of roe v. wade reminded all of us that even today, in 2023, the
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21st century, women don't have the same fundamental rights as men. so this resolution is a terrific and necessary idea. the e.r.a. has been ratified by three-quarters of the states, but not in the requisite time, and that's what this proposal would fix. is very popular in the minds of the american people, and i strongly support the resolution. i want my daughters and granddaughter to live in a country where they never have to worry about being discriminated against, simply because of their gender. sadly, today, that is not the case. the e.r.a. would fix that. i want to thank senators cardin, durbin, representatives presley, dean, and bush and everyone who is championing this important resolution. finally, on election undermining by the republican national committee, one of the biggest lessons of last november was that for all the attempts by maga republicans to undermine
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our elections, the roots of our democracy remain strong and run deep. for two years, we heard the same thing over and over again from the maga brigade, that the 2020 elections were stolen, that president biden was illegitimate, that we couldn't trust our votes were properly counted. americans simply didn't buy it. they saw that the elections were fair. some have said these are the fairest elections we've ever had. yet, in virtually every race last fall maga candidates, who campaigned explicitly on denying the results of the 2020 election and overturning it were rejected by the voters. it was a good result for the country, for our democracy, and frankly it was a necessary wake-up call for the gop. telling them, get rid of the big lie once and for all. the american people aren't buying it. maybe a small band of extreme right-wingers are, maga people, but not everybody else. so, it was so disturbing to read in "the washington post" that
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the rnc is not so much abandoning the conspiracy of the big lie, so much as doubling down. according to reports, they are working on creating a permanent infrastructure in every state to ramp up election integrity activities as a way to cater to that portion of the ba is that still believes in -- of the base that still believes in these conspiracies. as a sign of how unserious this is, the rnc makes unfounded claims of, quote, a continuing onslaught of democratic election manipulation. i would call it ridiculous -- it is ridiculous -- but it's a troubling attempt to undermine our democracy. when people don't believe the elections are on the level that's the beginning of the end of this grand experiment in democracy that has lasted for centuries. fortunately, the american people are rejecting it, but the republicans, the maga wing is keeping at it. i'll make this easy for the
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folks at the rnc -- undermining our elections a loser politically. it didn't work last year. it's not going to work next year. for the sake of our country and the sake of the gop, the rnc and the maga wing of the republican party needs to break the election fraud echo chamber that has paralyzed their party, and frankly caused them to lose election after election. gateway, finally, yesterday, mr. president, was a very special day for the people of new york. after a lot of hard work, we finally welcome president biden to celebrate progress on gateway, the most important infrastructure project in america. anyone who knows me knows gateway has been one of my greatest passions for more than a decade. call it a labor of love, and it is, because i love new york. without our tunnels, the region's economy would come to a halt, not just new york and new
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jersey, but the whole northeast. after a lot of false starts, gateway is finally full speed ahead thank to both the bipartisan infrastructure law and the great help and enthusiasm from president biden. we had a good time yesterday, the president, me, and the other senators because we knew we were getting something so important done. that's why we're here. the implementation of the bills we passed last year is really vital to this country and to keeping our prosperity going and increasing. so there were a lot of smiles at yesterday's celebration. many of us waited for years for this moment. and after a lot of persistence, we can finally say gateway is going to be built. gateway is just one of the major infrastructure initiatives supported by the bipartisan infrastructure law. just like the chips and science act and the inflation reduction arctic it's beginning to pay real dividends in the forms of new jobs, new investments, and prosperity, and we're going to see much more of of it this year
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and in the years to come. that's precisely what democrats promised to do and that's what we're delivering on. i thank the president for helping us and celebrating with us yesterday in new york.
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>> from heavily subsidized imports. >> thank you for this question. i think it is really important
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in think about how trade policy works for all of our diverse agricultural producers here in the united states. as i think about this question first and foremost we need to make sure our specialty crop producers have open access to markets, , access to markets hee and obviously under secretary moffitt works close on the markets abroad as well. i just met with a specialty crops two weeks ago and they were talking about how they have leveraged some of the technical assistance for specialty crops which is a a program the farml has created and funded as important as technical projects are to knock down trade barriers that they are experiencing pixel programs like that are critical in helping our specialty crop sectors access to markets around the world. additionally i think ensuring our trading partners are
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operating fairly and that trade commitments that are being made to our specialty crop producers and trade commitments broadly are being lived up to and enforcing them when they're not. it is a multi pronged approach that takes, , the where to focus it domestically but also internationally. >> thank you very much. ms. charles, we know and you spoken about the fact food aid programs are incredibly important. a number of years ago i read a codel to the agriculture community to africa and we saw how significant this is and because of the weather disasters and growing climate crisis and so on things are even worse, i know, then when we were in there. we have to provide emergency food assistance. we know growing local markets and building resiliency is important. from your perspective how can we improve these programs are
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maintaining a variety of tools in the toolbox and ensuring that in-kind commodities remain in the next? >> thank you for the question and i certainly welcome codels in the future. i think we're a lot to share and a lot the american people and people in ons about the future trajectory of our government's borrowing and spending. it is right, appropriate, and entirely normal that our need to raise the debt limit would be paired with negotiations regarding democrats' runaway printing and spending. the american people changed control of the house because the voters wanted to constrain democrats' runaway, reckless party-line spending. the voters of this country looked at the trillions of dollars of party-line spending, the runaway inflation, and the mountain of debt and last
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november they hit the brakes. we just experienced two years when washington democrats got to set policy without negotiating and the american people put an end to it. some democrats are trying to rewrite history and pretend that republican demands for negotiations are unusual. but that, of course, is just false. back in 2017, the senate democratic leader said that the debt ceiling gave democrats, quote, leverage in broader talks. as "the new york times" explained back in 2017, then-speaker pelosi and the democratic leader, quote, began formulating a plan to apply pressure, jettisoning the idea of backing a straightforward or clean debt limit measure as a way to gain muscle in coming
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negotiations. that was the pelosi-schumer playbook for the debt limit -- demand negotiations. here's how the democratic leader put it himself at the time. he said the debt ceiling, quote, gives another ample opportunity for bipartisan, not for one party jamming its choices down the throats of the other. so i trust democrats will be consistent with their past positions and the white house will waste no time beginning the customary negotiations with the majority over in the house. the president of the united states does not get to walk away from the table. the same president who happily signed off on trillions of dollars of needless party-line spending needs to begin good-faith negotiations on spending reform with speaker mccarthy and do it today.
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now, on a related matter, there are lots of egregious ways that president biden has wasted taxpayer money trying to buy up his low approval ratings. but the democrats' student loan program is really one of the worst. it is like the democrats paid scientists in a lab to invent the most unfair government handouts they can possibly -- that could possibly, possibly exist. democrats want to take the graduate school loans of doctors and lawyers and white-collar professionals making six figures and put their debt on the shoulders of americans who didn't take out loans at all. to the middle-class families who saved and sacrificed and skipped vacations to pay for more of their kids' college, the democrats want to turn you into suckers. to the plumbers, firefighters, checkout clerks, and auto mechanics who made career choices to avoid taking on debt,
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democrats think the dentists and lawyers deserve extra handouts at your expense. to the patriots who volunteered to serve our nation in uniform as part of a plan to attend college debt-free, the democrats with aens to change the rules -- the democrats want to change the rules behind your back. president biden and his party wake up every day looking for ways to transfer money and power away from the working class toward elites. but even for today's democratic party, this one is especially galling. this is reverse robin hood policy. democrats stealing from the work working dallas reward people who are comparatively better off. it just isn't fair on a personal level. it is also staggering reckless fiscal policy. this whole undertaking was first set up as a short-term emergency measure at the very start of
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covid. those earliest weeks when the entire economy seemed to be in a freefall, that was almost three years ago. so shortly is afterwards, thanks to the bipartisan cares act that came out of the republican-led senate, the economy rebounded. household savings actually went up. many white-color professionals spent months, if not years, working remotely from the comfort of their living rooms. any legitimate reason for pausing loan payments evaporateed just a few months after it began. but the democrats have kept it going year after year. now they want to magically wave away people's debts altogether. needless to say, this would be enormously expensive for the country. if you add up the cost of three things -- the nearly three-year long pause thus far, the mass jubilee the biden administration is trying to defend in court,
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and the democrats' proposal to turn the income-driven payment program into permanent socialism -- the total cost of these three measures is projected to hit $1 trillion. $1 trillion. this estimate is from our colleague, senator cassidy, who is shining a bright spotlight on these terrible policies as the incoming ranking member of the help committee. on top of all the reckless inflationary spending that democrats -- that democrats have pushed through, they want to redistribute up to another trillion dollars toward college-educated people who already earn higher salaries, on average. the democrats want to squeeze even more money out out of cashiers, welders, first responders, janitors, and
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cosmetologists and extend to a group much people who -- and send 2 to it to a group of people who already earn more. more reckless spendings, more debt and inflation and no fairness for american families. finally, today marks a solemn anniversary for the people of burma and for all of us around the world who spent years, literally years rooting for them to make progress towards more freedom and stable democracy. two years ago their hopes were wrenched away by a brutal military coup. to date, this takeover by the army has displaced 2 million
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people, some having to flee the country altogether. inside burma, more than 16,000 people have been taken as political prisoners. at one point, the military was detaining american journalist danny finster and nathan monk, the australian economist john turno, and of course my friend aung san suu kyi whose latest conviction in a sham trial leaves her facing the possibility of life in prison. expert observers count the coup's death toll at 19,000. that includes people this illegitimate government simply executed outright, like the activist ko jimmy. now the leaders of the coup are laying out plans in broad daylight to stamp out burma's
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pro-democracy movement once and for all. the military is shedding any last ounce of legitimacy it pretended to have and is now conducting air strikes against innocent civilians. and the juntas new regulations for this year's election are designed to make viable opposition virtually impossible. no wonder the illegitimate rulers rolled otothe red carpet for putin to visit burma. on the second anniversary of the coup with a potentially devastating sham election on the horizon is absolutely -- it is absolutely vital to the united states continue our assistance to the government and other key groups working inside burma to advance the cause of democracy and increase the cross-border humanitarian aid. by our example, americans should
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rally our partners to raise the international stakes with the katmandu's continued brutality. the biden administration was being instructed to take several more concrete steps to bulk up american support for people of burma. it made support. it required mother targeted and precisely timed sanctions against state-owned enterprises like moge. finally the ndaa also notably authorized funding for programs to strengthen federalism in and among ethnic states in burma and for technical support and nonlegal assistance for burma's ethic and to strengthen communication, command and control and coordination of international relief and other
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operations between and among those entities. so, mr. president, the people of burma are fighting for the sortf future like democracy like ours enjoy, the right to self-determination. i'm proud to stand behind them in this effort. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the minority whip -- the republican
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whip. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, later today i will introduce the born-alive abortion survivor's protection act along with my colleague senator lankford. it states that a baby born alive after an attempted abortion is provided the same medical care that any other newborn baby is entitled to. and you would think that it would be a simple yes vote from every member of this body, but unfortunately, mr. president, that's not where we are. four years ago and then three years ago, the u.s. senate took up this bill and almost every single democrat voted against it and the house took up the bill and almost every single democrat over there voted against it. apparently this is now controversial. because let's be clear, that's what we're talking about here.
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some democrats have tried to cloak their opposition to say it's a private decision between a woman and her doctor. but what is the decision that we're talking about? we're talking about whether or not a living baby born after an attempted abortion should be provided with medical care or to be left to die or i suppose be killed outright by the abortionist. that's what we're talking about. that's the decision democrats are referring to. and that's apparently the decision that they think should be left up to patients and their doctors, whether or not to let a living, breathing baby die. mr. president, the senate voted on a previous version of this bill introduced by my former colleague, senator sasse, four years ago when the democratic
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goarch of virginia -- governor of virginia said you can keep a newly born baby comfortable while you decided what to do with it. in other words, whether you decided to let the child die or i guess kill it or whether to let it live. that chilling statement made it abundantly clear that we needed to state explicitly that any baby, wherever he or she is born, including in an abortion clinic, is entitled to medical care. it's staggering that we have gotten to the point where we need to debate this in congress. staggering that this wouldn't be an automatic yes vote from every member of this body. but that's where we are. and if anyone thinks that abortion isn't a slippery slope, that we can somehow devalue
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unborn baby's lives while maintaining respect for everyone else's, i'm here to tell them differently. the democratic party not only opposes the legislation to protect unborn baby, they oppose legislation to protect born ones as well. in a democrats' world, there are now apparently two classes of born babies, the wanted ones born alive in delivery rooms and the unwanted ones born in boosting clinics and -- born in clinics. mr. president, democrats talk a lot about abortions when talking about this bill, but this bill would do nothing to restrict abortion. it's not a bill protecting unborn babies, it's a bill protecting born babies. i do understand why democrats are so worked up though.
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because while this bill may not do anything to restrict abortion, there's always the chance of drawing attention to the humanity and dignity of the child who has just been born will draw attention to the humanity and dignity of the child who is about to be born. the child democrats are determined our laws should not protect. and democrats are apparently so determined to preserve the so-called right to kill unborn babies that they are fully comfortable opposing a law that would protect born -- born babies. mr. president, these are hard things to talk about. but they've got to be said. because that is the reality of where we are right now. roughly 50% of the united states congress opposes given the equal protection of the law to born human beings if they happen to be born alive following an attempted abortion.
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and i think we're in a real to where we want -- point as to where we want to be as a nation. do we want to -- do we want to be a country that endorses leaving living, breathing babies to die? that discards born babies because they are, for a moment at their birth, unwanted. i don't know, i think we're better than that, mr. president. we have to be better than that. if we truly want to be a nation that protects human rights, that stands for justice, that defends the vulnerable, then we cannot be a nation that says it is acceptable to leave living, breathing born human beings to die in an abortion clinics.
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it says there are two classes of newborn babies and only one of them deserves to be protected. every human being, mr. mr. president, deserves to be protected no matter the circumstances of his or her birth. i want to thank senator lankford ford for his leadership on this issue. we will be working together to advance this legislation. and i pray that sooner or later, sooner rather than later, i should say, we will get to the day when this bill will be an automatic yes vote from every member of this body. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. kennedy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. kennedy: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, louisiana, mike all of our states, is working as hard as we
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can to improve k-12, elementary and secondary education. we used to have the best system of elementary and secondary education in the world. we still have the best system of higher education in the world, bar none. kids from all over our planet want to come to america to go to college. i know our universities have problems. we've got to do a better job, in my judgment, mr. president, with encouraging our universities to allow the free exchange of ideas, the dialectic through which we get the truth. but i'll save that topic for another day. our problem in america is
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elementary and secondary education, and it's frustrating, mr. president. we've made some improvements, but not nearly enough. it's frustrating. americans can do extraordinary things. americans can unravel the human genome. americans can take a diseased human heart and replace it with a new one and make the thing beat. americans can send a person to the moon and bring that person back safely. but we can't seem to teach all of our kids how to read and write and do basic math when we
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have 18 years to do it. and i know you know what i'm talking about, mr. president, because you in a prior lifetime have been in the trenches. and yes, we've made progress, but it is so, so frustrating sometimes. we have made progress, mr. president. i know in colorado, in part under your leadership, large part under your leadership, colorado has made strides. we've made strides in louisiana. we started -- well, we have had efforts to improve for many, many years, but we started in ernest under -- in earnest under a governor in louisiana called governor buddy roemer. back in the late 80's and early 90's. i'm not saying other governors before and after buddy didn't
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contribute mighty lie, but buddy made education a major goal of his administration. and we have made progress, but it's fits and it's starts. now, here's our problem today, some years ago we started grading our schools, mr. president. we grade our schools in louisiana, our elementary and secondary schools, for two reasons. first, because we want education quality. number two, transparency. we want parents to know where their child is going to school. when we grade our schools, a, b, c, d, f. and it's tough. because everybody wants to be the best. but that which is measured gets done.
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and today, we still grade our schools, and we should continue to grade our schools, but here's the problem. 41% of our elementary and middle schools get a's and b's. i think that's probably pretty accurate. we're going to get that number up, those letter grades up, but about 41% of our elementary and middle schools grade a or b. 70% of our high schools grade a or b. something's not meshing here. i wish i could say that 70% of our high schools were a and b schools, but we all know in louisiana that they are not. if you look at our college entry scores, if you look at our a.c.t. scores, if you look at other objective assessments, they're not in line, they're not
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in line with 70% of our high schools being a schools or b schools, while only 40% of our elementary and middle schools. that's just a fact. i hope there will come a time in my lifetime when i come here and say we've got 90% of all of our schools are a and b schools. but i can't do that today. i wish i could, but i can't. we need to look reality in the eye and accept it. not like we do in washington, look reality in the eye and deny it. in louisiana we believe in looking reality in the eye and accepting it. now, i know it's hard, and right now our teachers and our principals and our superintendents and our school board members and our legislators and the millions of people in louisiana who care about education are trying to reform the system and come up
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with a new methodology, an objective methodology that properly grades our high schools, and it is hard. i know. i get it. and here's the undercurrent, a lot of our teachers and our principals and our school board members are concerned that if the grades go down to reflect reality, they're going to get blamed. they're going to get blamed, and i get it. and it's wrong to blame them. i'll just mention our teachers. you know, for a kid to learn, somebody's got to make him do his homework. teachers can't do that. for someone -- for a kid to learn, someone has to make that child go to bed at night and get
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a full night's sleep. for a kid to learn, someone has to feed that kid breakfast in the morning. for a kid to learn, someone at home has to enforce and reinforce to that child that he or she has to mind his teachers. it's called parents. and in louisiana, as in other states, as throughout the world, unfortunately we have some parents who don't seem to care. i don't know what to do about that. i don't know why it is. but we do. and we can't expect teachers and superintendents and school board members to take the place of parents, but too often they are blamed for all of the problems, when really it starts with the parents. and the fact of the matter is if
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a parent doesn't love his kid, i can't imagine that but it happens, if a parent doesn't love his kid, the kid's not going to stop loving his parent. the kid's going to stop loving himself. and so i get it. we can't hold our teachers and our superintendents and our school board members responsible for fixing the impossible. we've just got to figure out a way to work around it. it's not just the money. the federal government, state government, and local government last year spent somewhere in the range of $760 billion, three-quarters of a trillion dollars, on elementary and secondary education. in louisiana, we spend about $12,000 per year per child. now, that's a lot of money in my
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state, given the standard and cost of living. by way of comparison, florida spends about $10,000. it's not just money. i read a statistic one time, it's several years old -- i don't know if it's accurate today or not, but i read several years ago that we spend twice as much, we in america spend twice as much on elementary and secondary education as slovakia does, yet we rank about the same. i don't know if that's still accurate, but it was then. so it's not just money. it's also will. it's commitment. and i want to emphasize one more time, we need to come up with a new system that doesn't just blame the teachers and the superintendents and the school
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board members. and i don't blame them for not wanting to be the scape goats. about, i don't know, it was 2002, 2003, i was state treasurer. one day i was sitting in a legislative hearing listening to all these experts testify about how we fix our schools. not a teacher among them. i remember thinking, you know, i wonder how many of these folks really know what public schools are like today. so, i went back to my office, i made a phone call to the east baton rouge parish school system, where our state capital is located. i said what does it take to be a substitute teacher? he said man, we need substitutes. you need a college degree and go to a short orientation. he said we need substitutes so bad, we'll take politicians. i said sign me up. every year since then, i try to do it three times a year. sometimes i do it more. i do it less. i've done it less this year.
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i'm going to try to make up p this spring. i've been a volunteer substitute teacher. every time i insisted i want to be the substitute. i don't want somebody there with me. i don't want to go talk about how a bill becomes a law. i want to be a substitute. if you do it, i encourage everybody to do it, you start about, i don't know, depending on the school, 7:45 -- 6:45, you go to 2:00, 3:00, 3:30, you have lunch room duty or bus duty. let me tell you something, you are worn out. the first time i did it, i'll never do this again, they gave me 11th grade chemistry. after about two hours, nobody told me this, i realized, map, you got to -- man, you got to go to the bathroom before you start class. and the next time i taught, i remember i brought a thermos of coffee, you get so tired.
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but my point is after starting i think then we started at 8:00, i went to 2:45, my plan was to go home after substitute teaching this chemistry class. my plan was to go to my office at the state capitol and work. i went home. i was dead dog, down to the marrow tired. it's hard being a teacher. it's hard. and we've done a better job in louisiana with our teachers' cooperation finding out which of our teachers can teach, and paying them. we've also worked hard to find out which of our teachers can't teach and either teach them how or find a new line of work. i'm not going to stand here and blame the teachers. but i return to where i began -- 70% of our schools are not a and b schools. i wish they were.
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someday they will be, but they're not. so all i'm asking today, mr. president, to my people back home who are listening, to the people of louisiana who care about education, and most. , most of them do, to our teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members and board of elementary and secondary education members, to our legislators, let's work together, let's look reality in the eye and accept it, let's understand that we need a new methodology to try to grade our schools. let's look reality in the eye and accept the fact that our parents deserve to know the quality of school that their kids are attending. and let's come up with a new system that is accurate but that is fair to everybody, and let's stop blaming people and
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regretting yesterday and start creating tomorrow. because, in my state, and i bet it's true in your state, mr. president, the future of my state is education. it's not the price of oil. it's not the unemployment rate. it's not who the senators are. it's education. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. durbin: before he leaves, let me commend my colleague from louisiana. his role as a substitute teacher is one i greatly admire. i thank you for sharing that with us today. and i'm sure it gives you great insight into education, greater than some. and i'm going to accept your challenge and try to find a way to be a substitute teacher myself along the way, if they'll have me. but thank you for that
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statement. mr. president, it's been almost 100 years since the great depression. it was a terrible time in american history. businesses failed right and left. families lost all their savings. runs on banks, businesses failing. it was a horrible moment. luckily for us, the leadership of franklin roosevelt appeared in 1933 when he was sworn sworn in as president of the united states, and we made some significant basic changes. one of them we still benefit from today -- federal deposit insurance. if you go to a federally regulated bank under our guidelines, there is an insurance that says that even if this bank goes bust, we're going to be there to protect much of your savings, maybe all of them depending on how much you have invested in that bank. we were tested during the savings and loan crisis a few
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decades ago and we kept our promise, we paid people back when the savings and loans they invested in failed. but there are other investments where you're on your own. the stock market is one of them. if you don't make money on your stock, that's your personal loss. but even when it comes to the stock market, the companies in that stock market doing business in america are largely subject to regulation. and so we know at least that the books that they're presenting have to be legal and be accurate in their disclosures, just basics of government regulation. however, there are some areas where you can bet your money or invest your money where there's no protection and no regulation. i want to speak to one of those areas at this moment. this area has been called the new money, digital cash. some have called it the way of
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the future. i have another name for it -- reckless, predatory, foolish, and dangerous. i'm referring, of course, to cryptocurrency. the latest scam to rip off millions of hardwork being americans to the tune of billions of dollars. in under a being did, this industry has skyrocketed in popularity, raked in big bucks for its leading speculators before exploding into dust for all the world to see. met me tale you about crypto's terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year -- 202. let's start with the most popular cryptokorean, bitcoin. in 2022,the currency cratered losing more than 50% of its value in one year. if you bought one by the coin at the start of 2022, held on to it until today, you would be down $25,000 o think of all the americans who could have held on to that cash for family needs
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and recover a payment on their first home. the money is gone. there's no insurance. it is just an investment that disappeared. they're not alone. the disaster began last may with the financial meltdown known as cryptowinter. if you are a he one of the millions of consumers, millions, who were convinced by those well-respected financial advisors, matt damon, larry david, and lebron james, to buy in crypto, you don't need to tell me what happened next. in a matter of months more than $2 trillion vanished from this industry. one cryptofirm after another folded. even a so-called stable coin, which claims to offer great stability, went bust. then in the fall came the mighty collapse of the exchange ftx. it's founder, sam bankman fried, spent years cultivating. he claimed cryptoand the ftx
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platform would democratize findings, that he was giving a leg up to the little guy finally and stimulus billing it to the barons of traditional finance. it was all a lifetime while he was burning millions of dollars branding himself as some noble disrupter, the reality is he was steals his own users' money to fund his own riskiests about. here is the worst part -- for americans who were scammed into investing in ftx, there is little hope of retrieving any of their money. yearly this week annie lawry wrote a piece about one ftx user whose money was steelen. gregg has been a cryptoinvestor for quite a while, pretty vigilant, even protected his assets with a technique he calls cold storage. so gregg knew about the risk with trading crypto. he knew that his assets were loosely recreated, ifeth ared at all.
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and he knew about the volatility of the market. but gregg never expected that the company he trusted to safeguard his money would end up stealing it. he lost nearly $10,000 when ftx collapsed. like millions of others he hasn't gotten any money back. here's what he said. ftx was legitimized in the the public eye. i saw the tom brady commercialed. i saw the major league baseball empires with the name on their uniforms. its name was on the american family-dade arena. it led credence to the idea that this was a safe place to put your money. thankfully gregg says i'll be okay. he has a good-paying job and enough money saved to pay his bills. but stop for a second and think about americans who are not that lucky. more than half of our nation's families cannot afford a $1,000 emergency. and those same families who struggle to make ends meet have
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been targeted by the cryptoads campaigns gregg mentioned. in fact, leaders in the crypto industry have marketed their products to unbanked and underbanked americans. now this is a problem that disproportionately affect add black and brown americans who have been outside the financial system historically. so along comes crypto, and its leaders like sam bankman fried. they promised that crypto was open to everybody and operate oz, quote, without discrimination. well, in a way they're right. when the crypto industry melted down, everybody got hurt, especially the black and brown americans who are more likely to invest. so as the new year begins, where do we stand with crypto? the industry is hoping the dust
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will settle, maybe things will quiet down and everybody will forget the damage of 2022. guess again. our federal regulators are coming to life and bringing down the hammer on crypto. i want to commend the securities and exchange commission chairman for doing his part to protect the integrity of our capital markets and to hold bad actors accountable. in the past month alone, the fcc sec has filed charges. there are other cops on the beat, too. on friday, the federal reserve rejected an application from a crypto company called custodia and deny inside its request with a member of the federal election commission. custodia proposed to engage in activities on open public decentralized networks with.
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as we learned, that will that would a recipe for disaster. so i'm glad both the fed and sec, among others, are working to insulate our broader financial system and protect investors from the instability of crypto. now it is pipeline for wiser minds in finance to come to their senses, and it starts with fidelity. to think the crypto industry is entranced one of the largest 401(k) providers in the world is shocking. this past summer, fidelity offered plan participants to crypto. imagine if your 401(k) lived or died by the value of by the coin. that is unacceptable for the 40 million americans who invest with fidelity. many of them are relying on these investments to retire on. that's why last year i sent a letter along with others to
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fidelity's ceo abigail johnson. we respectfully asked her to reconsider this ill-advised decision on crypto. we received a response in which fidelity said, quote, respectfully disagree with the assertion that bitcoin cannot meet the higher standards applicable to retirement accounts. so after the collapse of ftx, i thought, let's send another letter to fidelity and see if they have a change of heart. we figured at least diversifying from cryptowould be a no-brainer. apparently not bus we stiff haven't received a response. hardworking americans who entrust fidelity with their retirement savings expect mother. they deserve better than ponzi schemes and endless volatility. the financial future of many millions of their customers is on the line. it is time to do the right thing and be honest about cryptocurrency. there should be more transparency, accountability and enough regulation so we know they're telling the truth. let me close with one point. i was at a hearing with the agriculture committee and we are
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discussing the issue from a different perspective, whether bitcoins and similar objects were commodities subject to regulation by the commodities and futures trading economics an agency i know well from the financial industry in chicago. i left that hearing after some critical remarks about cryptocurrency and a reporter stopped me in the halt and she said, how much money are you received in political contributions from ftx? i said, none. she said, wrong. look again. i looked. it is over $7,000. we've given that money to chair, as you might expect. but they have more friends in high places than they have really good argument for their product. i think that we've got to be thoughtful and mindful as politicians that this industry has a lot of money riding on this bet and we've got to be careful that we don't become so beholden to them that we lose
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our clear-eyed look at an entity which has hurt so many people and is likely to do more in the future. i yield the floor.
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>> the safety of these products are not in question. >> i agree on your point that
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this has a broader impact. if we have a country claiming in a trade agreement they are not going to accept our products that are safe, gmos, they are safe, this is a message we need to get out not just in our international trade but in this country. i appreciate you standing firm on that and making it clear gmos are safe, secure and helped feed the world. we can go on and on with this as we move forward. i thank you for that. in december, i lead to 25 of my colleagues, a bipartisan letter we sent to the administration to hold mexico to their commitments under the us mca. we haven't received a response from that.
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can you check on that and let us know how the administration plans to proceed? >> thank you very much. also, your testimony, you note the indo pacific framework, there are meaningful opportunities to address nontariff barriers and sanitary restrictions. addressing those items would be helpful but i have heard many nebraska egg producers concerned about the lack of meaningful access provisions as part of the administration's trade agenda, will you advocate market access provisions specifically for agriculture included as part of the negotiations? >> thank you for that question. i believe broadly that market
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access addressing tariffs but also at the spf side of trade is fit critically important. doing one without the other does not equate to market access. we've seen that around the world. i think while tariff liberalization broadly has been critical to us agriculture, there have been parts that have not been equal. i heard from specialty in the state of forgot about the challenges in this hearing. i will say i am interested in pursuing trade policies that balances the need for a diverse set of agricultural producers in this country in pursuing new and diversified markets. >> i look forward to continuing our discussions on this and a special thank you for holding firm on that yellow corn and the white corn with mexico and my thanks to the secretary as well. >> thank you.
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>> i would add my thanks to senator fisher on the corn issue. minnesota is fourth in the country for exports. this hearing is really important to us and i also thank senator smith for her question on dairy, something we care about. i want to start with the fact that we see room to grow according to the 2,020 one study on the export development market program you cite, for every one dollar invested in these programs, exports increased by $24 which is incredible. yet it found these programs are underfunded. i know senator brown asked you a little bit about this. can you talk about how we compare to other international
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trading partners? according to your testimony, the you buddy deb export program for wine alone was greater than the entire budget of all of usda's market developing programs, that should concern our colleagues. as much as we enjoyed pairing up with the you buddy deb. >> thank you. these programs are critically important and others have versions of programs to promote their own products. we are going to head to head, but these tools congress and this committee have provided is critical to letting producers get into these markets, to navigate complex regulatory systems, language barriers to compete. our programs, funded at $200 million, we on average are seeing $300 million of requests
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and that is industry partners self-regulating because they know we have limited funds, we see something similar in the market develop and program, that is funded at $34.5 million and we get $50 million of requests so they are highly prescribed funds and highly leveraged as you point out, the impact we receive is pretty impressive. >> next up, the bill on opening up a market to cuba, 95% of customers living outside our borders absent lifting embargo, i'm interested in what options usda has to facilitate for american exports. have you considered allowing cuba to be part of the emerging market program to facilitate easier exports to cuba?
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>> this is been a bipartisan bill. >> cuba is an interesting market with untapped potential, huge challenges as well. math was opened up to be allowed explicitly and we've seen cooperators and drive project to there, and emerging-market programs did not have the same authority granted to it so i think that would be something we would be interested in exploring with you as you explore work on reauthorizing the farm bill. >> the american product, as we know, we were making some headwind. we have work to do on the human rights front and we can go back to looking at that.
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my last question, minnesota, number one turkey producer in the country and minnesota turkey farmers have once again been significantly impacted by avian influenza, better this time in terms of the quick response. we worked on vaccine bank for these emergencies in the farm bill supported by all the members. as the outbreak continues, it is still going on, how would usda adjust to mitigate what is happening, specifically impacted countries in the you buddy deb are implementing a vaccine strategy. what can do to incorporate a vaccine strategy without impacting trade? >> as you mentioned, there have
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been a lot of lessons in 2014-15, that we spent the time working with trading partners, working with the world organization on animal health around a regionalization approach and some science-based standards. we have seen a different reactions this time is than we did in 2014-15, to list restrictions, with the lowest standards. this is a continued process of engagement and an important donation made some important progress thanks to technical -- we have to continue to work at it. >> i will not ask another question. you are asked about him. i will number senator mcconnell
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coming to these hearings, a markup for the reason of including hemp provisions but there continues to be frustration about gaps and guidelines. the usda, i am hoping we can fix those. >> thank you very much. >> look forward to working with you on this important bill, agriculture in my state of alabama is the number one industry and we are proud of it. we lost a lot of family farms in the state and hope during this farm bill, we keep in mind what we are doing for all farmers but especially try to keep as many family farms as we can. most of my questions have been asked, but i will ask of ms. taylor, cotton producers across
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southeast, overseas in one form or another. you have any new plans for these programs? >> i think they are well-established programs that have shown a lot of success. i will look forward to working with congress on any changes you may be seeking but from our perspective they are highly effective. >> you are satisfied with how they are working. are nurseries face the emerging threat of the box treat mall. serious pass for boxwoods that have begun to spread into the us from canada, the number one, the number one evergreen scrub crop grown in the us, very important to alabama. the usda, begins working with the industry. the you have any comments on
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this? >> thank you for that question. we have been working with the industry making sure we have movement control so we are containing the past where it isn't working to eradicate it and working with canada to have movement control and restriction control and engagement with industry as you recognize is ongoing and that's a vital part of our response. >> covering 200,000 acres with infested land and the wheat damage, crops reduce productivity. what research to combat this? >> that's a great question. we can make sure we get back to you on that information. >> thank you, madam chair.
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>> thank you. i have to say, you are no longer at the end, you are moving up. >> incredible what two years will do to somebody. thank you for your leadership and all the staff that are here. welcome to our new colleagues as well. in new mexico, as i hope you will all know, a few things we love, one of them being our chilly. i remind my friends from colorado they should be grateful to new mexico for what they got, the chilly they brag about as long as they don't forget where it came from. the reason i bring that up his there are many challenges in new mexico and different parts of the country when it comes to specialty crops. in our state, not just chilly but pecans, pistachios, onions,
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dinnertable job opportunities, we have seen labor challenges through the country and we are seeing that in new mexico as well, specialty crop lockdowns matter to us, are critical with competitiveness. these crops in domestic informed markets, my question for deputy secretary moffat is can you describe if or how the specialty program is able to assist industry in modernizing specialty crop harvesting and especially with the lien towards a state like new mexico, marge in geography, we don't do as well other states in the region or across the country when it comes to leveraging these programs. i want to see how we can learn about strengthening them but producers like we have in new mexico, they have access to
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these programs. >> thank you for that question. what is very unique about the specialty block grant is the component that is a partnership with the department of agriculture so the state department of agriculture with usda, work on identifying critical needs for specialty crop industry and really tailoring grants in that state. as you talk about, the grant funded research production challenge research particularly, research writ large as well which is a component of what the industry needs to enhance that competitiveness. and the promotion of the specialty crop block grant but given the question of mechanization and challenges that are unique to new mexico is
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a key part of how to specialty block grant and design of the block grant with the states working with industry on what projects are needed to advance and grow specialty crops. i look at the research component. >> appreciate that. in areas where new mexico has not been successful through the department of agriculture where we've not been successful, is that an area we can work with you want to better understand the application from the state can be improved so we are more successful in the future? >> absolutely. we are happy to work with your staff on those conversations. there is also a specialty grant program where we can address issues that cover multiple states across the region or the country. >> with the program, are there
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any areas to strengthen, given challenges that we now see over the last few years? any changes? first i have an unanimous consent request, and it is this, that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of s. res. 21, submitted earlier today, that at 3:30 p.m. the senate vote on the adoption of the resolution, if the adoption is agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution, 21, supporting the observation of national trafficking and modern slavery prevention month and so forth. the presiding officer: the presiding. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut.
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mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, if you were working for the sandwich shop jimmy john's. i don't know if the presiding officer had a jimmy john sandwich, it's pretty good. if you were working for the jimmy john's franchise in the last decade, you might have been required to sign a record with jimmy john's to make sandwiches. and buried in that contract, as a fast food worker at jimmy john's in 2014, 2015, 2016, was something called of a noncompete clause. a lot of americans have heard of noncompete clauses, they think of them as applying to executives, individuals who make a lot of money, who possess really intricate detailed information about a product. but jimmy john's made everybody
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who came to work in many of their sandwich shops sign a noncompete agreement. the noncompete agreement for jimmy john's sandwich makers said, if you ever left jimmy john's, you would not be able to work in any business within two or three miles of any jimmy john's that made over 10% of its revenue from selling deli style, pita, and or wrapped or rolled sandwiches for two years. low-income, minimum wage workers at jimmy john's, if they tried to leave that job were prohibited from going to work at subway or deang elo's or mcdonald's or burger king. that sounds patently ridiculous.
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why would you need to protect the sandwiches at jimmy john's for low-income workers. this wasn't and isn't an anomaly. in fact, one out of six hospitality restaurant workers by some studies have noncompete agreements. today noncompete agreements apply to one in five american workers. that's 30 million workers. amazon waterhouse workers were -- warehouse workers signed noncompete agreements. camp bowwow, they required their pet sitters to sign noncompete
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agreements. the reason that noncompete agreements are being used at an industrial scale today is not to protect the trade secrets of sandwich making or pet sitting, it's to keep wages down. it's to prevent low-income workers from being able to go out and get a better job and thus pressure their existing employer to increase wages. this practice has become pervasive throughout our economy and it is a just fundamental restraint of free trade. now, many of these noncompete agreements end up being nonenforceable. a lot of state laws don't allow you to have a noncompete agreement for a low-wage worker, but in practice it doesn't really matter because when that
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individual tries to leave and they get told they can't because of the noncompete agreement, they don't know it's nonenforceable in state law, or if they do know, they don't have the resources to contest the clause in a court of law. and so what do they do? they just end up staying. the ftc filed a complaint in january of this year against two michigan-based companies that required their security guards to sign noncompete agreements prohibiting them from working for a competing business within 100 -- a 100-mile radius, despite the fact that these security guards were making low wages, the noncompete clause required the employee to pay a $100,000 penalty for any alleged
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violation of the clause. the intention here is to simply bind the employee to the company, to give them no opportunity to bargain for a better wage. there is no proprietary information those security guards possess. what is equally interesting is that there's increasingly great data to show that there's actually no reason to have noncompete agreements even for higher-income workers. the imposition of noncompete agreements on low-wage workers is primarily about trying to restrain wages, but the imposition of noncompete agreements on higher-paid workers, it is about a company who doesn't want competitors, and so they bind their executives to noncompete agreements such that their
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executives can't go work for a competing company or can't go out and start a company that may compete. and what is so maddening is that there are plenty of protections in our existing law that protect companies from intellectual property theft or patent theft. if what you're worried about is your trade agreements be appropriated by a competitor, the law protects you from that. you don't have to deny your employees or executives the ability to go work for another company. california, rightly has the reputation as probably the world's center of innovation, right? more start-ups, more world changing companies have come out of california probably than any other state.
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california was the first, or one of the first in this country to ban noncompete agreements. california decided it didn't need noncompete agreements to protect intellectual property, in a state that probably has a greater interest in noncompete. their engine is dependent on their prohibition of noncompete agreements because by prohibiting noncompete agreements, california has a culture in which start-ups are encouraged, in which executives can leave one company and start another. eric wand was an executive at cisco webex, if he wasn't working in california, he might have had a noncompete applied to him, he didn't and so he was able to leave the company and start a company that would potentially compete with wewex,
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a company called zoom. to many economists on the left and right, this is becoming a no-brainer. noncompete agreements are bad for wage growth, noncompete agreements are bad for innovation, noncompete agreements are bad for low-income workers, noncompete agreements are bad for high-income workers. and so today i'm on the floor to talk about what the data tells us about noncompete agreements as a means to encourage my colleagues to take a look at a piece of legislation that we are introducing today, the workforce mobility act. it's a pretty simple piece of legislation that would ban the use of noncompete agreements for both high-income and low-income workers. and it is a bipartisan piece of legislation. senator dodd young, senator kevin cramer, senator tim kaine, and myself are introducing this bill today.
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i don't know that there's another policy that the four of us can find common ground on, but we find common ground on this issue. because maybe if you're a progressive, you've come to this issue through the rights of workers and boosting their wages, if you're a conservative, you come to this issue through the restraint on free trade that exists through the per pept situation of non -- per pept situation of noncompete agreements. here in the senate it is bipartisan as well. i am glad that the ftc, just a week or so ago, announced they were going to undertake a rule to ban noncompete agreements. i congratulate the biden administration and the ftc for taking a leadership role. it may be that that rule, once adopted and in place, will do
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the work of this legislation, but we know the rules are only as good as the commitment of one particular administration. so my hope and recommendation is that no matter what the ftc does, when it comes to restrictions on noncompete agreements, that we pass the workforce mobility act that we provide a guarantee in the law that noncompete agreements are not going to stand in the way of wages rising or small businesses starting. there's a lot of public support out there. 292% of voters -- 92% of voters think it's way too hard today to start or grow a new business. 80% of voters, against party lines, support policies that allow people who want to start a new business more freedom by reducing the restrictions that come when you true to venture out on your -- when you try to
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venture out on your own. increasingly, one of the primary restrictions that exist on people who want to start a new business, who want to become entrepreneurs, are these noncompete agreements. so, i am coming to the floor today to recommend this bipartisan piece of legislation to my colleagues, to point to the states that have already adopted these restrictions to show how not only does the sky not fall when you get rid of noncompete agreements, but start-ups flourish, wages increase, and to finally recommend to my colleagues that in an environment where it is going to be a little harder to find agreement between republicans and democrats, this is a place where we can find that common ground, in one piece of policy we can stick up for
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low-income workers and the free market. this is something that we can do together to help raise wages and to help power our economy. i yield the floor. mr. murphy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: one more thing. i have three requests for
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committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted.
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>> thank you. under secretary moffitt, want to knowledge the incredible work you do. they do an excellent job in ensuring the health and viability of u.s. animal agriculture and the agency's commitment to science-based animal health protocols and standards necessary to fulfill market access for u.s. producers. as undersecretary, and this is come out again repeatedly with
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the poultry issue, and senator hyde-smith really laid it out very, very well. i guess the question police ears month. in the wake of this tragedy, we've heard the predictable renewed calls for police reform legislation hear in congress, something that we attempted not to long ago. in the summer of 2020, senators from both parties introduced police reform bills to other high-profile tragedies, like the george floyd murder. senator tim scott on our side, the senator from south carolina, led those efforts, and i was proud to work with him in crafting something called the justice act, that would reform, retrain, and restore trust in america's police officers, something i believe is very
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important. this package of bills included a number of initiatives to include accountability and transparency and deliver real change to our communities across the country. i remember after the george floyd murder i asked my friends, the mayor of houston and the mayor of dallas, if they would assemble a group of community leaders so i could better understand what the relationship was, particularly between communities of color and the police in those cities. it was pretty eye-opening. while many young people and am not-so-young people are raised to believe that the police are their friend, and somebody you can depend on and call if you're in trouble, in some communities there's a lack of trust and confidence in the police because of a very different experience that they've had in those
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communities. i believe there still is a broad bipartisan appetite for these types of reforms that were included in the justice act, and i was optimistic that we could at the time pass a police reform bill that was desperately needed. but when leader mcconnell tried to bring that bill to the floor, our democratic colleagues blocked it. that's right, they blocked it. they refused to allow the senate to even debate or consider this legislation. strangely enough, this package included a bill, included by senator booker, and then senator kamala harris, to make lynching a federal crime, but they voted to block consideration of the bill that included their bill to make lynching a federal crime.
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it just didn't make any sense to me then, and it doesn't make any sense to me now. this would have strengthened the use and accountability for body cameras, and i'm talking about the bigger bill now, of course, improve access to de-escalation training, and duty to intervene training, and establish two commissions to give us better understanding and recommendations on the challenges that need to be addressed in the long run. but as i said, our colleagues across the aisle blocked it. this important point is worth remembering now as our democratic colleagues renew their call for police reform. now, in light of the filibuster of the justice act, i introduced a standalone bill that included de-escalation provisions from senator scott's legislation, and i worked with my colleague,
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senator whitehouse, in a bipartisan bill that was signed into law last december. so at least that piece of the justice act did become law, signed into law by president biden. de-escalation training is very important. that doesn't mean that rogue police officers will always follow their training. indeed, these officers, if they were trained to de-escalate these conflicts, certainly did not follow their training, and they will be held accountable, as they should be, by the prosecutors who will bring charges against them. but it bears repeating that republicans tried to bring a police reform bill to the floor 2 1/2 years ago, and our democratic colleagues stood in the way. mr. president, on another
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matter, today president biden and speaker mccarthy will sit down to discuss options to avoid a debt crisis and rein in government spending. now, the one thing that president biden and speaker mccarthy agree on is that we cannot break, we cannot breach the debt ceiling. i guess that's at least a start. from there, there doesn't seem to be a lot of common ground. not yet, anyway. with the potential default on the horizon, this topic has gotten a lot of attention, but as we all know america's debt crisis didn't appear overnight. it's been building for decades, and as i've said before, i'll say it again, republicans and democrats have not exactly covered themselves with glory when it comes to deficit spending and increasing the debt. washington has spent and spent
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with no meaningful steps to balance the budget. we are writing checks, spending money that we know people of my generation will never have to pay back, but younger generations certainly will. that strikes me as profoundly immoral. the national debt has skyrocketed from $3.2 trillion in 1980, $3.2 trillion in 1980, to $9.7 trillion in 2000, and $31.5 trillion today. i think it was everett dirksen who said years ago, he said, a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money. nobody ever thought to use the t-word, until recently. and during covid-19 we worked together to avert a public
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health crisis and an economic catastrophe during the pandemic, and we did that on a bipartisan basis. but in the last two years, our democratic colleagues have spent another $2.5 trillion-plus in purely partisan spending bills -- the so-called america recovery act, and the inflation reduction act. more than $2.5 trillion in partisan spending. and the president takes the position that he won't even negotiate on the debt ceiling? when he's the one person whose signature is required to sign something into law, and by his signature he raised the debt more than $2.5 trillion in partisan spending in the last two years, around he won't even negotiate? it strikes me as unsustainable
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and certainly irresponsible. the president was happy to take a tour cross america to brag about these costly bills, but when we hit the debt limit, he's nowhere to be seen, and he's pointing the finger of blame at the republican house of representatives and at the speaker and suggesting that, well, if you want to cut spending, tell us where you would cut. let's look at spending that the president and democrats were solely responsible for. if we could cut back $2.5 trillion in spending, that would do a lot to address the current level of debt. but the president's position is it's not my responsibility. i don't really care. excepts to try to lay -- and he
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wants to try to lay all of this at the feet of speaker mccarthy. it's wildly inappropriate and irresponsible. in short, president biden has made clear that he expects congress to raise the debt limit with no conditions attached. but that also means to let this run away spending and accumulating debt to continue. that's the part he doesn't say but is implicit in his position. republicans have made clear that his position is untenable. for one, it's a matter of financial prudence. congress can't raise the debt ceiling just to keep spending like there's no tomorrow. we need to get government spending in check, and the best way to do that is on a bipartisan basis. but there's also a matter of
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practicality. republicans now control the house, meaning that the only viable path to success means compromise. we have a divided government. that's what the midterm elections gave us. some of my cloations like to say that -- some of my colleagues like to say that divided government is the best time to do hard things. i think that's true, but if it doesn't change behavior, those hard things never get addressed. so president biden can roll out as many ultimatums as he wants, but the reality is his party no longer controls all the levers of government like it has during the last two years. and in order to avoid a debt crisis, which he said is nonnegotiable, he's going to to have to work with republicans. so today's meeting with speaker mccarthy is a start, but at minimum i hope the president will walk back his statement about not negotiating and
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understand that he has no choice but to work with republicans, just like speaker mccarthy has no choice but to work with president biden. that's the nature of divided government that the voters gave us with the midterm elections, and we need to get serious about workable solutions. secretary yellen has said she thinks that the government will not default before june, which means we have approximately four months to work this out. i hope today's meeting twoan the president and the -- between the president and the speaker mark the beginning of bipartisan negotiations, and i'm eager to learn more about their discussion. mr. president, on a final matter, today marks a solemn anniversary for our country. 20 years ago today space shuttle
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columbia was making its return to earth on the heels of a mission dubbed sts-107. after 16 days in orbit, the shuttle was bound for kennedy space center in florida where members of the astronauts' families and countless spectators gathered to watch its landing, which is always an exciting and inspiring sight. the shuttle was traveling across the southern part of the united states, and as it crossed texas on a beautiful saturday morning, something terrible happened. folks along the flight path stood in their yards, excited to watch a glimpse of columbia returning from its 28th mission. they watched the orbiter streak cross the sky at some 12,000 miles an hour when suddenly they
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heard a loud noise and saw the shuttle begin to come apart. we soon realized that the worst had happened, the shuttle broke in several pieces as it reentered earth's atmosphere, and all seven astronauts abored lost their life. the crew of columbia included two texans, rick husband and willie mccool along with michael anderson, calpano chowler, david clarke and ean ramon. they were scheduled to land 16 minutes after passing over texas. the disaster left a field of wreckage that stretched from fort worth, across east texas and into louisiana. texas is a big place, but that means virtually the whole bregd
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-- breadth of our state was covered with wreckage. the government launched a massive search to recover pieces of the shuttle in order to determine what went wrong. nasa officials, national guard troops and law enforcement at all levels began scouring the landscape to recover pieces of the shuttle. divers from the environmental protection agency led efforts to recover pieces that fell into the toledo creek, toledo bin reservoir near hemphill. some 25,000 volunteers from texas and louisiana searched an area that covered 2.3 million miles. they ranged from college students at nearby steven f. austin to teams of ham radio operators who helped law enforcement with communications.
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as texans and americans do, people from all walks of life came together at a time of tragedy and rallied behind a unified effort to help bring answers to a nation in mourning. this tragedy happened just a couple of months into my first senate term, and i witnessed this massive response effort in action. in the aftermath, i visited an area nacogdoches in east texas where tents were set up by search teams. it was remarkable to see the dedication of men and women firsthand engaged in this effort. search crews battled rain and cold temperatures as they combed through pine forests and underbrush searching for wreckage. recovery teams and volunteers found everything from a 600-pound piece of a main engine, a 600-pound piece of a
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main engine to the sole of a spacesuit boot. these discoveries of course were crucial to the investigation which helped nasa understand what went wrong and how woakd -- we could prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future. in the months and years since, the agency underwent an extensive transformation of its culture and operations to improve the safety of future missions. john clark, a former nasa flight surgeon whose wife laurel was killed on columbia, said their sacrifice has evolved into a safer space program. those changes are no consolation for the families that lost loved ones 20 years ago today, but i hope they can find some comfort
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in the knowledge that these american heroes made a lasting impact on america's space program. i appreciate the texans who came together in the wake of this tragedy to preserve pieces of columbia and provide nasa and these families with answers that they so earnestly sought. their efforts have helped make the nation's space program safer and more successful. so as we mark the 20th anniversary of the loss of columbia, i'm proud to cosponsor a senate resolution to commemorate the loss of columbia and honor its crew. i appreciate the bipartisan support of senators on both sides of the aisle who have joined in this effort, and i hope the resolution will pass unanimously today. today we pay tribute to seven courageous individuals who lost
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their lives aboard the space shuttle columbia. we remember and we honor and we celebrate their commitment to research, exploration, and the pursuit of the extraordinary. and we honor their legacy by continuing to push the boundaries of scientific discovery afford human space flight -- and human space flight. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate
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>> use senate now in recess for the democrat weekly lunch. the chamber is back in session this afternoon for more member speeches. to work on an organizational resolution setting committee assignments for the 118th congress. as always live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. >> thursday president biden speaks at the 71st annual national prayer breakfast, along with congresswoman lucy mcbath and congressman tim walberg. watch live at 8 a.m. on c-span2, c-span now or free mobile video app or online at >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more including charter communications. >> charter is proud to be recognized as one of the best internet providers a w


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